These are chaotic confusing times and we are all baffled puzzled worried a trifle paranoid wary cautious self-isolating long before social distancing we all reach out and retreat approach avoidance because the world had become an enigma wrapped in a puzzle embedded in a mystery. We no longer feel at home.
I will try to introduce order and meaning into the world as it is today by studying the way the world had always been, the immutable patterns rules that govern it now and always had, for millennia.
For millennia, politicians had represented the interests of the elites: they managed the bureaucracies which were required to ensure the smooth running of polities and economies.
Then, starting with the French Revolution, as empires and monarchies crumbled in slow motion from 1918 well into the 1960s, the masses started to assert their power as they formed chaotic ochlocracies and executed hapless members of the erstwhile aristocracies.
Alarmed, the elites responded by introducing democracy and nation-states (nationalism): part sham and part an effort to structure surging mobs and control them.
It backfired. The great unwashed leveraged democracy and disintermediating, empowering technologies to stage populist coups and take over the levers of states and establishments.
All the philosophical systems and the religions of the world can be distilled into three options:
1. The psychotic school: magical thinking and misperceiving internal objects (such as “god”) as external;
2. The narcissistic school: entitlement, rights, obligations, and hubris, mistaking external objects and symbols (such as the “nation” or a love object) as internal; and
3. The schizoid school: withdrawing from the world and shunning reality altogether (“nothingness” and “authenticity”).
At any given period of history, one of these schools is on the ascendant and the other two are on the defensive. In our postmodern world, narcissism carried the day.
Transfer of wealth from poor to rich; suppression of free speech and human rights; emergence of IT-finance nexus
The pandemic has merely accelerated the decline of the USA and the rise of the historically dominant Eurasian landmass (Russia and its newfound ally, contiguous China).
Russia is providing weapons not only to Serbia, but to NATO allies like Turkey. It had cast itself as an important diplomatic force in the Middle East (not only in Syria, but even with Israel). It is now emerging as technological and scientific power both for good (vaccines) and bad (hacking).
China is now pivoting from a strictly economic superpower to a military one. It is purchasing critical infrastructure in Greece, Africa, and Latin America. Its soft power has surpassed the USA’s in terms of lending to sovereigns, online social media; payments, and retail; and propaganda. Its GDP is nearly the same as the USA’s and the EU’s.
Small countries cannot afford to surf the wrong geopolitical wave. they must strike a neutral stance between East and West, even if it means that they have to postpone geopolitical aspirations. Like the UK had done with Brexit, they should adopt the Swiss model and welcome everyone. They should redirect themselves and embrace industries which do not render the dependent on either superpower: services, green agriculture, medical tourism, offshore banking, coding and backoffice operations, etc.
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